FAMILY FOREST FISH PASSAGE PROGRAM

Message from Tami Miketa, Manager of the Small Forest Landowner Office

Do you think you have a fish blockage on your forestland? Then we have a deal for you! DNR’s Family Forest Fish Passage program is looking for high-quality projects to restore fish access to upstream habitat.

chumspawn

Chum spawning. Photo: M. Esteve

Small forest landowners own 3.2 million acres of Washington’s forests, about half the private forestland in the state. Those lands include thousands of miles of fish-bearing streams. A single barrier on a stream can keep fish from reaching miles of upstream habitat.

Removing fish barriers is one of the keys to recovering salmon and to protecting public resources. But removing fish barriers can be costly, especially for small forest landowners. In 2003 the state Legislature passed House Bill 1095 which created the Family Forest Fish Passage Program. This is a cost-share program for small forest landowners that provides 75 to 100 percent of the cost of correcting a fish barrier and only requires landowners enrolled in the program to fix their barriers if and when financial assistance is available from the state. So, by enrolling in the program, you’re only required to remove the fish barrier on your road crossing when cost-share funding is available.

This program is a collaborative effort between three state agencies: the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and the Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), and the Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO). The DNR is the primary contact for general questions and applications; the WDFW handles site assessments and answers your fish habitat and stream related questions; and the RCO manages the grant funding process.

How does the program work?

  1. Site Visit. After you apply to the program, we contact you to make an appointment to inspect your barrier. This includes an assessment by WDFW of  the quality of the stream’s fish habitat and whether your road crossing structure is the cause of the fish blockage. If your structure is not blocking fish passage, no further action will be taken and you won’t be enrolled in the program. If your structure is blocking, you’ll be enrolled, and the WDFW will prioritize your project.
  2. Project Prioritization. The WDFW determines the priority of all applications based on a number of factors including the amount of fish habitat made accessible, the quality of the habitat, the presence of other fish blocking barriers, the number and type of fish species using the stream, the cost of correcting the barrier, and support of local fish enhancement groups.
  3. Correction Options and Cost Estimate. If your project is determined to be a high priority, we’ll develop options for eliminating the barrier. Your project will be placed in a final prioritized list of projects based on the options and cost estimates.
  4. Project Funding. The DNR uses the prioritized list to determine which projects will be funded with the currently available monies and will notify the enrollees selected. If your project is not selected for funding, it will be automatically be put on the list for the next funding cycle. If you believe your project needs to be addressed immediately, please contact the Small Forest Landowner Office and we’ll help you identify other funding sources.
  5. Project Sponsor. Once your project is funded, a project sponsor will be assigned to handle permitting and project design, hiring contractors, and managing the funding process with the RCO.
  6. Matching Contribution. If you’ve harvested timber within three years of when your project is selected for funding, you may be required to match 25 percent of project costs through either in-kind services or payment in dollars. However, if you have not harvested within the three years prior to the project being approved for funding, or if the barrier was installed with a permit (e.g., Forest Practices Application or Hydraulic Project Approval), the State will pay the entire cost of the project.

Watch our video and see what landowners think about FFFPP by clicking here.

If you have any questions about the Family Forest Fish Passage Program, please feel free to call Laurie Cox at: 360-902-1404 or e-mail her at: laurie.cox@dnr.wa.gov.

WILDLIFE HABITAT ON SMALL WOODLANDS

Ken Bevis, Stewardship Wildlife Biologist, Small Forest Landowner Office

Wildlife – What a great word.  It evokes images of herds of elk in the Cascade Mountains, eagles fishing the Skagit River when the salmon are running, and orca breaching in Puget Sound. All wildlife, true, but when you’re talking about a small patch of woods, wildlife is usually less dramatic, consisting of smaller creatures like yellow pine chipmunks, deer mice, long toed salamanders, and hairy woodpeckers. These animals have small home ranges and live in direct association with specific and complex habitat features like snags, fallen logs and dense brush.

As landowners, it’s relatively easy to manage your forests in a way that provides the complexity these critters depend on and promotes wildlife diversity.

Start by protecting the existing habitat features on your land:

  • Locate and protect unique habitats like wetlands, springs and seeps, aspen stands, riparian zones.  Establish buffers around them and use fencing to keep livestock out. These unique habitats are part of the Forest Practice Rules riparian management zone.

    Legacy tree - Crystal Lake Tree Farm SnohomishCo - KBevis

    Legacy tree and Crystal Lake Tree Farm in Snohomish County. Photo: K. Bevis.

  • Create wildlife trees by leaving snags and live trees with dead tops, cavities, and feeding excavations.  In addition to protecting standing dead and decaying trees for cavity habitat, keep broken and multiple topped trees and establish no cut buffers around the best snags. Wildlife trees and buffers around snags are required as part of harvest operations.
  • Leave legacy trees. Retaining some of the largest trees in the stand, particularly those that will remain wind firm, provides a diverse overstory structure, perches for raptors, and a source of cone crop production.  Under a Forest Practice Application, legacy trees are also called “green retention trees” and leaving them is a requirement for harvest.
  • Retain and protect all larger down logs, especially those in advanced decay.  If they’re in the way during logging, move them to a safe place. Do not run over them with equipment, as this will destroy the interstitial spaces in the rotting wood used by small mammals and amphibians. Protecting downed wood is also in rule as a requirement for all forest practices.
  • Retain understory shrubs and low trees like cascara, huckleberry, elderberry, and wild rose – especially those that bear fruit for wildlife.
  • Cut smaller diameter green trees for firewood as part of your thinning regime and allow the wood to “season” for a year or more before burning. These trees can also be girdled and allowed to dry standing up, which will help with the retention of snags and the development of cavity trees.

Once the features are protected, it’s time to enhance what’s there:

  • Create snags during thinning and harvests. Mechanical harvesters can snip stems off at 8 to 15 feet with little effort and these short snags become cavity habitat in a few years.  Thinning crews can also make short snags out of 4 to 6 inch trees by girdling and/or removing tops. Snags can even be installed in key locations.

    Hairy Woodpecker_KBevis

    Hairy woodpecker. Photo: K. Bevis.

  • Create habitat piles by stacking larger branches and stems into crisscross piles with stems/branches at least 4 inches in diameter. Larger material should be piled at least 4 to 6 layers deep to form the core, with a “cavity” in the middle of the pile for snowshoe hare or bobcats.  Cover the pile with a “roof” of smaller branches 1 to 2 feet thick.
  • Create openings in stands with uniform canopies.  Patch cuts approximately 100 to 200 feet across will allow sun to reach the ground and provide low plants for wildlife. Creating openings on larger lots may require a Forest Practices Application, so remember to check with your regional Forest Practices Forester before cutting any trees.
  • Plant native shrubs that bear fruit like elderberry, serviceberry, chokecherry in openings or along edges.  The shrubs may require browse protection in order to become established.
  • Plant native seed mixes on disturbed sites such as skid trails and landings to provide forage for wildlife and help prevent weeds.
  • Install nest boxes for use by cavity nesting birds and small mammals like squirrels and chipmunks.  Birds such as chickadees and wrens will use boxes installed within the forest canopy, while other species such as bluebirds and swallows prefer the edges of openings.

Have questions or want more ideas?  Feel free to call (360-489-4802) or email me (Ken.Bevis@dnr.wa.gov).

MARKETPLACE REPORT

Tree Dollar SignFebruary 2014 DNR Economic and Revenue Forecast Highlights

U.S. Economy and Housing Market. The U.S. economy is still improving in fits and starts. In October 2009, the unemployment rate peaked at 10 percent, dropping back to 6.7 percent as of December, while the unemployment rate for recent undergraduates continues to push 13 percent. Year-over-year Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth remains modest at below two percent, averaged over the last four quarters ending in December. The recent government shutdown will suppress GDP in this and future quarters. The housing market continues to show positive signs: new housing starts in the 2013 averaged 928,000 (up 18 percent over 2012 and 52 percent over 2011) and average U.S. housing prices have increased in each of the last 22 months through November. The U.S. economy still faces significant challenges. There are still too many unemployed workers, though some have reentered the workforce after having left; the financial and economic crises in Europe are improving, but several European countries remain in recession; China’s economy has slowed; and the U.S. government still has not implemented a coherent, growth-driven economic policy.

Lumber and Log Prices. Lumber and log prices were up in 2013. While it varied widely, Random Lengths’ Coast Dry Random and Stud composite lumber price averaged $370/mbf—up 20 percent from the 2012 average of $309/mbf. Pacific Northwest log prices have also moved up sharply after being fairly flat for 2011 and most of 2012. The price for a ‘typical’ DNR log delivered to the mill climbed dramatically to a nominal high of $587/mbf in April, the highest price since 2000. The log price then fell a bit before climbing back to $610/mbf in December, to average $564/mbf for the year—up 18 percent from 2012’s average of $480/mbf.

EDIBLE PLANTS OF THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST

James R. Freed, Washington State University Natural Resources Extension Professor

No matter what the scope is for your forest management plan, wild edibles can be a major component of it. Forests produce hundreds of products that can be eaten or used for medicinal purposes by humans, pets and domestic livestock.

The key to safe and sustainable use of native plants as a source of food and medicine is correct identification. There is little margin for error when you are eating or drinking products made from native plants.

Books are always a good source of information – two that are specific to the Pacific Northwest are “Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West” (Moore) and “Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast: Washington Oregon, British Columbia” (Pojar). There is also a variety of organizations and electronic resources that you can turn to. What follows is a partial list of some the more user friendly sites and organizations.

Organizations

  • Master Gardeners of Washington State University  Master gardener programs exist are in every county and they have great training on basic horticulture skills, plant identification and plant care.
  • Washington Native Plant Society There are native plant society chapters in all the major cities in the State of Washington. They meet regularly, offer workshops and field trips, and also provide access to a range of conservation and plant identification resources.

Government Plant Identification Sites

Mycological Societies

Like the Native plant societies, mycological societies offer programs on the identification, harvest, and use of wild mushrooms. They also conduct guided field trips for members to learn safe harvest methods.

FORESTS AND FISH: ADAPTIVE MANAGEMENT

Condensed from a paper by Jim Hotvedt, Adaptive Management Program Administrator

In the January issue of the SFL Newsletter, we began our new “Adaptive Management” feature by providing some context and history for the Forests and Fish Report. This month we’re focusing on the development of the Forest Practices Adaptive Management Program.

Addressing Scientific Uncertainty
Since the mid-1980s and the creation of the 1987 Timber, Fish, and Wildlife (TFW) Agreement, Washington’s forest practices stakeholders recognized there are gaps in the science related to the impacts from active forest management on water quality and public resources including aquatic species. The TFW participants agreed to let science guide decision-making about resource protection requirements in the forest practices rules and guidance, and called for the use of adaptive management as a framework for managing forest practices.

Subsequently, the authors of the 1999 Forests and Fish Report also recommended an adaptive management program. Specific areas of scientific uncertainty, key questions, resource objectives and performance targets for the program were documented in an appendix to the report known as Schedule L-1.

In 1999 the Washington State Legislature carried the adaptive management element forward by directing the Forest Practices Board, in its adoption of rules following the Forests and Fish Report recommendations, to incorporate into the rules and to implement the scientifically based adaptive management process described in the report. This means any changes to the protection requirements for public resources in the forest practices rules must be consistent with recommendations resulting from the adaptive management process, unless otherwise made by order of a court or through legislation.

Finally, the 2005 federal approval of DNR’s Forest Practices Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) made the State’s commitment to adaptive management a federal requirement as well.

Adaptive Management Program Rules
According to the Forest Practices Board’s rules on the Adaptive Management Program (WAC 222-12-045), the purpose of the program is to:

“…provide science-based recommendations and technical information to assist the board in determining if and when it is necessary or advisable to adjust rules and guidance for aquatic resources to achieve resource goals and objectives…”

The rules also specify key questions and resource objectives, participants and their roles, and the use of the Cooperative Monitoring, Evaluation and Research Committee (CMER) to impose accountability and a formalized process to achieve the resource objectives.

Program Elements
The Forests and Fish Report recommended a well-organized structure for conducting adaptive management. The Forest Practices Board sets resource objectives for the program, and sets priorities for action, recommends budgets, provides fiscal and management oversight, and is the final step of dispute resolution among stakeholders.

The Board is also responsible for enacting the necessary rule changes.

Desired outcomes of the program include:

  • Providing certainty of change to protect targeted resources;
  • Ensuring predictability and stability of the process; and
  • Using quality controls for study design, execution, and interpretation.

Participants
Participants in the Forest Practices Adaptive Management Program include the Forest Practices Board, the Cooperative Monitoring, Evaluation and Research Committee; the Timber Fish and Wildlife Policy Committee; an Adaptive Management Program Administrator; and those necessary to conduct an independent scientific peer review process to participate in the program.

Next newsletter: The Cooperative Monitoring, Evaluation and Research Committee.

PESTICIDE LICENSE REQUIREMENTS FOR FOREST LANDOWNERS

Rusty Sauls, Pesticide Compliance Program, Washington State Department of Agriculture

Forest landowners in Washington State are always working on the best solutions to maintaining a healthy forest, and constantly monitoring their forests to stay one step ahead of any issues that arise – including pests. Whether you are trying to control an intrusive weed or an insect whose population numbers are increasing, the most effective pest management approach is a combination of biological control, habitat manipulation, modification of practices, and the use of pest/disease resistant tree species. This approach is referred to as integrated pest management (IPM) and uses pesticides only after monitoring indicates they are needed according to established guidelines, with the goal of removing only the target organism.

Once you’ve determined that pesticide use is warranted and chosen the chemical to be used, there are several things that you’ll need to be aware of:

  • The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) requires that records be kept for each application of a pesticide (WAC 16-228-1320). Recordkeeping forms are available on the WSDA Compliance Activities website.
  • If the product you want to apply is a restricted use pesticide, you or your employee must be licensed as either a private or commercial applicator licensed by the WSDA. A Private Applicator applies or supervises the application of a restricted use pesticide on land owned or rented by her or her employer for the purpose of producing an agricultural commodity (including forest products). Commercial Applicators apply pesticides to the land or property of another and generally need to be licensed in agricultural weed, insect, disease and aquatic pest control categories. Click here for additional information on licensing categories and their descriptions or call Margaret Tucker at (360) 902-2015.
  • Today, most applications on private forest lands are conducted by Commercial Applicators. A majority of those applications are done by either helicopter or back pack. Helicopter (aerial) applications allow applications to larger areas, while back pack applications allow workers on the ground to make spot applications.
  • Applicators also must provide protections for their employees and, in some cases, for themselves. For pesticides with labels referring to the Worker Protection Standards (WPS), the requirements for safety training, notification of application, use of personal protective equipment, entry restrictions, decontamination procedures and supplies, as well as emergency medical assistance are documented in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 40, Part 170.

Regardless of the pesticide you decide to use, make sure you choose the best product, and that it is applied safely at the proper rate and timing.

FOREST PRACTICES APPLICATIONS AND WATER TYPING

Phil Hess, WFFA Representative, Small Forest Landowner Office Advisory Committee

If you’re planning on harvesting your timber, you know that you’ll need to complete and receive a Forest Practices Application (FPA) before any road building or harvest activities can occur. But you may not be aware that landowners are also required to verify their stream’s water type as part of the application process.

Formally known as “water type” (WAC 222-16-031), there are four classifications that you need to be aware of: Type S (shorelines of the state per RCW 90.58.030), Type F (fish bearing), Type Np (non-fish bearing, perennial) and Type Ns (non-fish bearing, seasonal). Because stream flow and size decrease as you move upstream to the headwaters, streams in your ownership may change from one type to another, so in the FPA you’ll also need to define where the break between one type and another occurs.

So how do you get started? The first step is to locate your property or harvest unit on the Forest Practices Application Review System (FPARS) viewer using Township, Range, and Section. Waters on the Activity Map are labeled with an S (shoreline), F (fish bearing), N (non-fish bearing stream), or U (unknown). Regardless of what the Activity map says, landowners are responsible for verifying the water types on their property.

If you have complicated water typing issues such as a channel migration zone or a connected wetland you can request a pre-application review of your FPA and assistance from the Forest Practices Forester in your area.

Determining where the break is between water types is a critical piece of your planning because each water type has a different regulatory buffer or riparian management zone (RMZ) and each buffer has a different width. Type F RMZs have 3 components: a core zone adjacent to the water where no harvest is allowed, and an inner and outer zone where harvest is limited. The width of each Type F stream RMZ varies by stream width, site productivity, timber habitat type, and whether you are in eastern or western Washington. Type N streams can be either Np (Non-Fish perennial) or Ns (Non-fish seasonal). Type Np streams have a single RMZ zone, with potential harvest options based on, stream width, site productivity, timber habitat type, and whether you are in eastern or western Washington. Type Ns streams only have a 30-foot Equipment Limitation Zone (ELZ) and there are no cutting restrictions.

It’s very important that you to walk your streams during the driest time of the year so you can easily tell where the uppermost surface water begins to appear and is connected to a well-defined channel. Type Np streams begin at the uppermost point of perennial flow (UMPPF), also called the perennial initiation point (PIP). If the well-defined channel fades out without a UMPPF the stream is likely an Ns. A word of caution though; make sure you walk the entire length of the stream to ensure that flow does not begin again somewhere along the above ground channel reach! Identify where the breaks occur and locate them on the ground by driving in a permanent metal post, marking adjacent trees with paint or an aluminum tag/nail, and record the location with a handheld GPS unit if you have one. The location of the break/s should also be marked on your Activity Map. Detailed instruction for water typing can be found in the FPA instructions on pages 22 to 23 (westside) and 23 to 24 (eastside). Note that in these instructions, you could have a type F if the channel meets the physical characteristics even if you don’t have a UMPPF.

If your water typing and break determination differs from that on the Activity Map, submit a Water Type Modification (WTM) Form. Doing so triggers an on-site review by your DNR Forest Practices Forester, and if she/he agrees, will lead to a permanent change in the stream water type. If you don’t submit the WTM form, then any change in stream type that you submit will only be valid for the current FPA.

Even if harvest scheduling is not in your immediate plans, it is recommended you verify and correct the water typing as currently shown on the DNR Activity Maps, determine/identify water type breaks and complete/submit the WTM form.  Again, do this at the driest time of the year.  Having this step completed will simplify any future FPA for you and the family. Remember that the 15 year Long-term Application may be a good alternative for you.

UPCOMING EVENTS, WORKSHOPS AND PUBLICATIONS

Living with Wildlife – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has over 30 fact sheets designed to help landowners live with the mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles that share their land.  Each fact sheet begins by describing the animal and includes information on their feeding behavior, breeding, and habitat.  The fact sheets also provide information on attracting the species and resolving conflicts.

WSU Extension Classes, Seminars and Workshops

2014 Forest Stewardship Coached Planning Class – Your Land, Your Trees, Your Goals: Whether you have a few acres of woods or a large tract, this class is for you and will help you get the most out of your land!  Topics include tree health, attracting/repelling wildlife, soil types, weeds, and how to get a fair price for your logs.

  • Whatcom County – Thursday nights March 13th to May 1, 2014;  6:00 to 9:00 pm at the Rome Grange, 2821 Mt Baker Hwy, Bellingham, WA 98226.  For additional information call 425-357-6017.
  • Interactive webinar  – Wednesday evenings from 6:00 to 9:00 pm beginning April 23th.  For additional information call 425-357-6017.

Current Tax Use Seminar – This free seminar covers current tax use programs that are available to small forest landowners.  There is no charge for this seminar, but pre-registration is required. Space is strictly limited and is first come, first served. To register, contact Lauren Grand at 425-357-6023 or lauren.grand@wsu.edu.

  • Fall City – Tuesday April 8, 2014 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at the Fall City Library, 33415 SE 42nd Pl, Fall City, WA 98024.

Forest Pruning and Thinning – Learn how to thin and prune your woodlands to improve their development, reduce fuels and improve aesthetics.

  • Tonasket – Saturday April 5, 2014 at the Fire Springs Ranch.  Registration is first come, first served.

Shitake Mushroom Cultivation –  Learn how to grow gourmet mushrooms in your woods!  This hands on workshop will guide you through cultivating the mushrooms, with each participant receiving a small alder log to drill, plug, and wax.  Participants will also learn about other mushrooms that they can grow and receive information on where to buy plug spawn. Pre-registration is required!

  • Greenbank – A morning and an afternoon session will be held Saturday April 12, 2014, with each session limited to 35 people.  The sessions cost $35.00 before 3/15 and $45 after 3/15.

New Hydraulic Permit for Forestland Projects

Message from Tami Miketa, Manager of the Small Forest Landowner Office

As of December 30, 2013 Washington’s forest landowners only need one permit, instead of two, to conduct hydraulic projects on forest lands. Hydraulic projects are activities carried out in water, such as the construction, removal, or replacement of a culvert or bridge. The change is the result of the State Legislature shifting the responsibility for approving hydraulic projects on forestland from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Hydraulic project approval permits are no longer necessary for projects if they are on forestland. Instead, applicants will use the new Forest Practices Application/ Notification (FPA/N) form for permitting forest practices-related hydraulic work. Both the FPA/N form and instructions have been updated to reflect the additional information required and to guide users through the process. The updated forms and instructions are available on the DNR Forest Practices Forms and Instructions web page.

WDFW and DNR strongly encourage forest landowners to work with both agencies to review the work and associated engineered designs before submitting an FPA/N with forest practices-related hydraulic work. Contact the DNR Region office nearest you to arrange a pre-application review.

The Forest Practices Board has amended several chapters of the forest practices rules to implement the legislation. The updated rules are available for downloading at http://www.dnr.wa.gov/BusinessPermits/Topics/ForestPracticesRules/Pages/fp_rules.aspx .

The Forest Practices Board also approved new technical guidelines that were developed by DNR, WDFW, and other stakeholders representing state, federal, tribal, landowner, and conservation interests. These forest practices-related hydraulic project guidelines are located in Section 5 of the Forest Practices Board manual.

As always, staff members in the Small Forest Landowner Office are available to answer your questions. Please feel free to give us a call at (360) 902-1415.

Wishing you all the very best in the New Year!

Marketplace Report

Tax Time

Budget-preparation-graphic-e1330391122329The Forest Service recently released a bulletin with tax reporting tips for 2013.The document provides short explanations of various deductions, along with examples. The Forest Service Forest Taxation web site has a variety of other tax related resources and information that readers may find of use.

Domestic Mill Log Prices

Log price quotes from selected forest product producers and purchasers in Washington, Oregon and Idaho suggest that timber prices are continuing their upward trend for 2013. Additional information can be found on DNR’s Timber Sale Query web page.

W WA Price Graph_2013-12-12E WA Price Graph_2013-12-12

Carbon Markets

Carbon-graphic_1_webCarbon markets are a form of emission trading that focuses on removing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere through sequestering it in plant matter – specifically trees. The market is an emerging way of combatting climate change by reducing CO2 concentrations and can also provide a financial return on unharvested forestland. But are they feasible for small forest landowners?

The answer to that depends on several factors:

  • The size of your holdings  – Project development costs vary, but are generally more favorable with larger holdings or “packaged” projects that contain land from several landowners.
  • The volume of your timber – There is no age requirement for stands, but older stands are more likely to provide credits for trading.
  • Your willingness to change management practices  – In addition to requiring changes in management practices such as reforestation and harvest rotation, landowners must be willing to commit to the plan for 50 to 100 years.

If you’re interested in learning more about carbon markets, a good place to start is Ecotrust’s “A Landowner’s Guide to Carbon Offsets.”